My final photography project focusing on the expression of drag artists, especially the contrast between the extroverted performing appearance to introverted and private environments, such as the home.
I wanted to do a project that focused on the individual rather than the appearance. It's very easy to simply identify a performing drag queen as one of the same, it is often overlooked that a lot of time and money is invested into the creation of a drag persona. I wanted to find out how individuals create these alter egos as a form of creative expression.
There were many options in terms of the actual photographing of my artists. I needed to decide where I wanted to shoot- as this would massively affect the final effect of the image. I felt that photographing in a performing environment would contextualise the image too much and would deviate from the performer themselves, I didn't want it to turn into event or club photography.
I considered for a while using a studio space to photograph my artists, this way I would be able to develop a style and the photographs would be easily comparable to one another. However, I felt this would turn my artists into subjects to be simply looked at and compared rather than engaged with.
After much thought, I decided that the best way of achieving what I wanted to achieve would be to photograph in a private environment. Drag Queens are recognised as being extroverted individuals, most commonly seen in performing environments. I wanted to take the drag act out of it's environment and put it somewhere completely opposite. I felt the home would be a good place to stage the photography as it would make for a comfortable environment to take candid shots of my artists. By using somewhere they are familiar with it opens up the opportunity to converse and present the characters in whatever way they wish to portray themselves.
I wanted my photos to maintain a set style. By running with the idea of 'candid' portrait shots I was able to detail how I wanted the photos to look. I wanted to portray an honest and open image, this lead me straight to the heavy contrast style. I want the colours to stand out and make a statement.
To achieve the look I want I have looked into what equipment I will need:
The 'Ladyboys of Bangkok' has toured the UK every year since 1998. The show focuses on 16 Thai 'ladyboys' and is based on a format combining humour and glamour.
I felt the show would be a great opportunity to get an idea of the costume design and aesthetics that I could incorporate into my project. It was an eye opening experience and it was interesting to see how they used exaggerated gender stereotypes to set a tone for the entertainment.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to find people willing to commit to the project. Although I had hoped to photograph 5 different artists as part of my final images, I feel as though 1 artist is more feasible.
I decided to make a website in order to make the project appear more professional. As I am contacting strangers I feel it looks better if I have a link I can send to them rather than just telling them about it.
I designed the website to look sleek, fashionable and contemporary with the aim of making the project look established and professional.
Here is a link to the website: http://emilywilson16.wix.com/drag